Tomasz Kuszczak’s recent admission that he wants out of Old Trafford, in pursuit of the number 1 jersey elsewhere, has brought about quite an important question for Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. It’s a question that has existed for a few years, since Edwin van der Sar has one foot firmly in the retirement grave: who do United bring in between the sticks?
Let’s assume that Kuszczak won’t be at United at the beginning of next season. The best case scenario involves van der Sar not retiring, but by the start of next season he’ll be 40. The worst case scenario sees him retire and United’s next senior goalkeeper is Ben Amos: one first team appearance in the Carling Cup to his name so far.
The point being that United will literally have to sign a goalkeeper possibly even two, next season. United have already, in a move that was in no way influenced by the financially-crippling Glazer control of the club, decided to promote the highest-ranked youth player to the role of third choice keeper, rather than have three experienced, senior keepers at the club (previously van der Sar, Kuszczak and Ben Foster). But even if van der Sar does stay, United surely wouldn’t expect Ben Amos to step up to second-choice (although if it saves a couple of quid, I wouldn’t put it past Big Malc).
So what are their options?
David De Gea, Atletico Madrid
De Gea’s name, quite naturally, has been mentioned a fair bit since Kuszczak announced his intention to move on. Fergie skipped United’s trip to Scunny on Tuesday night, to check up on United’s Champions League oppo Valencia, but is rumoured to have been keeping an eye on Atletico’s promising young keeper as well. The only question is, as he’ll still be just 20 at the start of next season: is he old/experienced enough to immediately fill van der Sar’s boots?
Maarten Stekelenburg, Ajax
Stekelenburg has been bandied around as van der Sar’s replacement more than any other, and, as the man who stepped up to fill the void left in Holland’s side, it’d be a fairly natural choice. An international goalkeeper, for a world class nation, with a World Cup Final under his belt at 28. Can’t really argue with that, eh? Although he should’ve had Forlan’s strike in the World Cup semi, Jabulani or no.
Igor Akinfeev, CSKA Moscow
The CSKA keeper hasn’t been mentioned in a while. But he’ll be world class, if not already, and could easily play above the standard he’s currently playing at in Russia. Problem is, he’s probably the world’s biggest goalkeeping prospect at the moment (alright, Citeh fans, Hart’s alright too). If United were to enquire, surely a club with money would step in and outbid. At 24, he’s still got quite a career ahead (giving him time to iron out massive gaffes, such as this at around 2:42).
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